Touted as the gold standard in pet insurance, lifetime pet cover has come under scrutiny in recent years. With technological advances and the rising cost of veterinary fees, pet owners seeking peace of mind have poured millions into the comprehensive cover policies. However, following a surge in complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service, lifetime cover policies have fallen under greater scrutiny. Concern has arisen as to whether policies have been inappropriately marketed by insurance providers to consumers. Furthermore, the situation is such that the Financial Ombudsman has referred these concerns to the Financial Conduct Authority. This comes after a warning had been issued to insurers in November 2017.
As discussed in previous posts, lifetime pet cover has been sold on the basis that a pet’s treatment costs would be covered by the policy for as long as the premiums were paid. Such policies would cover accidents and illnesses, irrespective of the pet’s age. However, consumer complaints have shown that this is not the case. In response to aging pets and increased healthcare costs, insurers have increased premium costs. Increases have been hiked to such an extent that premiums have spiralled to many times more than the originally agreed policy costs.
A couple from Northampton, who own two bichons frises, took out a lifetime cover policy with MoreThan. From when they were puppies, eleven years ago, the policy promised lifetime cover for the treatment of all medical conditions, up to an annual limit of £12,000. However, they were recently informed that their annual premium would multiply threefold to £7,410. The insurance provider argued that the price increase was warranted by the pet owners’ claim history and the age and medical history of their dogs.
Being a high-claim and low-yield product, lifetime pet cover is becoming hard to find. With consumers seeking peace of mind, providers seem to be exploiting the situation. Increased premiums are simply pricing consumers out of the market.
Follow our blog for more information on how to best insure your pet.